Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – July 2014

Welcome to our July update. In this issue we inform you of the latest update to the Adoption Register and provide you with news about Early Years Pupil Premium, the VAA Expansion Grant Programme, First4Adoption training and recruitment, and the new video by DFW Adoption.  You will also find an update on BAAF training.  We hope that you will find this issue informative and helpful.

Early Years Pupil Premium
The department is seeking views on the introduction of an Early Years Pupil Premium for all disadvantaged three and four-year-olds from April 2015. Announced in March, the Early Years Pupil Premium will be an additional £300 for early years providers for eligible three and four-year-olds. Children adopted from care, SGO and CAO are included in the proposed eligibility criteria for the Early Years Pupil Premium. The link to the consultation, which closes on 22 August 22, is here:

VAA Expansion Grant Programme 2014-16
Following a competitive exercise, the DfE has decided to award 15 Expansion Grants to voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) in Round One of the programme.  Funding is being provided to successful VAAs to significantly increase the number of adopters recruited with a particular focus on adopters who can provide homes for children thought of as hard to place.

The Expansion Grants Programme is being administered and managed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) on behalf of the DfE.

Adoption Register Update
In the first quarter of 2014-15 the work of the Register has contributed matches for 130 children from 99 families. This is the highest number ever for the first quarter of a year. This included some of the children we know will wait the longest to be matched: 50 children in 25 sibling groups of two; nine children in three sibling groups of three; 54 children from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds; and 45 children above the age of four.

The placements were made by 61 separate local authorities.

Exchange Days
The Register continues to provide highly successful Adoption Exchange Days. The event in Leeds in July attracted over 70 agencies and 149 sets of adopters - the highest number of adopters attending an event held outside London.

Statutory guidance and regulations require adoption agencies to refer children and adopters as soon as possible and no later than three months after their adoption decision or approval. The Register is a free service and has a proven track record in finding families for ‘harder to place’ children.

If you have adopters or children to refer to the Register or want to attend an Exchange Day, please contact or 0345 222 9015. Further information is available on the website:

First4Adoption Update

E-learning Modules
First4Adoption (F4A) is happy to announce that the e-learning modules are live on the F4A website at F4A tested the modules with both prospective adopters and adoption professionals and hope you find it a useful resource. F4A aims to nurture it and develop it into a fully-fledged support and preparation resource for prospective adopters. Since this is a new resource, F4A would like to hear your views, so, please, take some time to review the modules and let your adopters know that the resource is available. F4A would also like to thank those people who contributed to the development of the e-learning modules.

Agency Recruitment
First4Adoption needs to know when you are actively recruiting for adopters and when you have reached capacity and have paused recruiting, or are no longer recruiting directly due to, for example, consortia arrangements. This will help to ensure that F4A does not refer more potential adopters to your agency at a time when you do not have capacity. Please contact First4Adoption on 0300 222 0022 or email at

New Video from DFW Adoption
DFW Adoption in Durham has recently published a new video to give potential adopters an insight into what adoption is all about. The adoptive family is made up of a sibling group of three children adopted at different times. Both parents and children talk candidly about their family and the importance of keeping siblings together when this is the right outcome for all the children involved. You can watch the video here:

Margaret Bell, Director of DFW Adoption, would welcome any feedback you have on the video and is happy to share her experiences of making it. Margaret can be contacted at

BAAF Training Update
The Department for Education has contracted BAAF to run free seminars to support the adoption reform programme. A limited number of places will be available at each of these sessions to all registered adoption agencies and registered adoption support agencies in England.

The final and fourth tranche of training will begin in September and will run until November 2014 and will focus on Offering an Effective Adoption Support Service.


  • Explore the adoption support framework, its implementation, and its further development in policy and law.
  • Consider the:
    • principles for assessment for, and the provision of, adoption support services (including an introduction to newly developed Adoption Support Assessment toolkit);
    • social workers’ roles in engaging with the family to develop a perspective on their primary issues of concern; and
    • process for the formulation of the adoption support plan and provision of services
  • Share best practice and identify an action plan for the development of local adoption support services.

Seminar Four Dates below:

Monday,  01 September 2014 –BAAF Head Office, London

Friday,  05 September 2014 – BAAF Leeds Office

Tuesday,  23 September 2014 – BAAF B'ham Office

Wednesday,  24 September 2014 – The Heatons, Manchester

Monday,  29 September 2014 – BAAF Head Office, London

Wednesday,  01 October 2014 – BAAF Newcastle Office

Tuesday,  07 October 2014 – BAAF Leeds Office

Friday,  17 October 2014 – BAAF Head Office, London

Monday, 20 October 2014 – CCS Adoption, Bristol

Monday,  20 October 2014 – The Heatons, Manchester

Thursday,  23 October 2014 – BAAF B'ham Office

Wednesday,  29 October 2014 – BAAF Head Office, London

Wednesday,  05 November 2014 – BAAF Newcastle Office

Thursday,  13 November 2014 – BAAF Head Office, London

Friday,  14 November 2014 – BAAF Leeds Office

Tuesday,  18 November 2014 – BAAF B'ham Office

Thursday,  20 November 2014 – CCS Adoption, Bristol

Thursday,  27 November 2014 – The Heatons, Manchester

Numbers on the seminars are limited depending on the venue and bookings will be made on a first come first served basis. You can book a place by completing this registration form and sending it to

Please note that emails to this address will not be monitored from 15 July to 28 July due to annual leave, but all emails will be responded to and places booked following this period of leave.

Confirmation emails are sent one week prior to the seminar. Therefore, if you have not received an email but think you have a place booked, please contact  to confirm your booking.

New on line training materials for Social Workers involved in care proceedings
On Wednesday 23 July, Research in Practice (RIP) will be launching a new suite of on-line learning materials for social workers. The materials highlight changes to legislation outlined in the revised statutory guidance ‘Court Orders and Pre-Proceedings’, which was published on 17 April this year and are intended to support improvement in the consistency and quality of the evidence social workers submit to the court.

You or colleagues can register for the launch webinar here:

Keeping you in touch
We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members.

If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated.  If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list, they should send their name, email address, job title and contact details to

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
July 2014